The Prime Minister has already welcomed the two Royal Kashos and on behalf of the government has committed to help implement and follow it unconditionally. He said these are lifetime and nation transforming opportunities (story on pg 1).
Apart from that the Prime Minister shared some of his personal observations on some of the key contents of the two Kashos which he said is not the official view of the RGoB at this time, given that the councils are yet to be formed, but what he took away from it at a personal level.
Lyonchhen asked what is the civil service to the country if Bhutanese are not concerned about the civil service.
“What is education to a country if we are all not concerned about it.”
He asked how can Education Ministry and Education system be transformed if we are not changed and do not play an active role in that.
He said looking at the contents of the Kasho we are all equally responsible and concerned.
“If the civil service has to be reformed or transformed then the education system must come as the civil service brain comes from education. If education needs to be transformed it has to be the way we educate them and here parents are important as 70 percent of the time of the students are spent with parents,” said the PM.
The PM said that we will have to wait and see in what manner it will be implemented and what are the formulas being devised for the transformation.
Civil Service Reform
The paper asked the PM about the Royal Kasho on Civil Service Reform pointing to issues like the inability to leverage the large size of the civil service for performance, complacency and indifference generated by job security, competencies and skills issues, communication and coordination and incoherent growth of institutions and numbers and how this is proving costly for our small country.
Lyonchhen gave a medical analogy here. He said there is one doctor who says these could be the kinds of infections and you can give these general groups of antibiotics. On the other side another doctors says these are infections with theses kinds of bacteria and to give these antibiotics at this rate of 500 mg at a six hourly rate.
“One says it is a general broad spectrum infection and gives a broad spectrum antibiotic. Todays Kasho says this is the diseases, this is the bacteria and this is the dosage and please give this medicines so that anyone can prescribe it,” said the PM.
He said the Kasho says these are the problems and we cannot live with this, we cannot go forward with this and we have had enough of this. He said at the end it comes up with the solutions package and the outer cover of the solutions are already there. The PM said the Kasho lists the issues and also the answers.
Lyonchhen said that earlier His Majesty had said similar things on official occasions and the worst thing was that all the key policy makers quoted these in many of their talks but it only remained as talk. He said now action is being demanded.
The paper then asked the PM for his view on the Royal Kasho on Education Reform where the current issues are pointed like the focus on text books and content without technology and social learning, the need to aim for standards and goals of the highest possible order and focusing on a new vision of the education system to create an enlightened citizenship that is as much local as it is trans-local among other issues and solutions.
Lyonchhen said he read the Kasho a couple of times already.
“I am reading it as education and not Ministry of Education. I am reading it as what one must know as a Bhutanese and not just what is taught in the classroom. I am taking education as a life transforming event and something that can add value whereby he or she becomes presentable to the world,” said the PM.
He said this is not just class PP to class 12 under Ministry of Education, first year to final year under RUB with a Bachelors degree, joining RCSC or the corporate sector and three to four years later applying for a 12 to 16 months Masters program and coming back to P3, P2 and P1 mundane promotions.
Lyonchhen said education is also to teach what a monk should know, what nun should know what a farmer should know and somebody who has never stepped into a school campus should also be educated.
He said it is also about how somebody who cannot read or write does what he or she is supposed to do in the best way possible.
Lyonchhen said reforming education applies to everyone and is the responsibility of the state and not just the politically elected government.
He said the word government in the Kasho means that state and not DPT, PDP or DNT government. He said it means the system.
“Education is beyond classroom, textbooks and the marks you score. It talks about generations. This is how I interpret it,” said the PM.
Lyonchhen said that ever since the National Day address by His Majesty he told the Ministry of Education to do whatever they can as it is a blessing to the parent ministry and so they are putting their thoughts together.
“But if this Kasho is to be interpreted for Ministry of Education and to be implemented by MoE alone then we are going wrong. To implement this Kasho on education maybe we as individuals have an equal role to play. The full weight of the Kasho is not just for the MoE,” said the PM.
He said once the formula is all set, on the implementation part a big chunk will go to the MoE, but if it is to be formulated by MoE itself then it will not work.
“When you go to buy a pair of shoes for yourself you will buy the most fitting shoes. If you ask the implementer to design the formula he would have designed the formula that is most befitting for themselves and so a bigger picture would be lost here,” said the PM.
The PM asked what is the value of teaching if what is learnt by the students does not co-relate with what is required in his or life and if he or she is not trained as per the need of his future.
He said the teacher’s responsibility is not just to make sure the student learns what is to be learnt but the teacher should be able to put himself or herself decades ahead of time and assume what knowledge is required and teach them that. “That is called preparing them for the future,” said the PM.
The PM said we always say that youth and students are the future of country but how can they be the future of the country if they are not taught 10 to 20 years ahead of the time that we live in.
“What is taught in the class must have the gist of the Kasho. The Kasho is applicable today for yourself, tomorrow for you children, day after tomorrow for your grandchildren and the day after that for your great grandchildren. The teacher must also teach accordingly,” said the PM.
He said the knowledge that the teacher imparts to the students must also be immediately applicable on that day in his house as what the student eats, wears, talks and how he walks is also education.
Lyonchhen said that tomorrow when the student goes to college he or she must be prepared from something as simple as the way he or she conducts himself, talks to peers in the college and the broadness of the mindset and willingness to learn more.
“I think preparing a person as a life long learner is more important than teaching him what needs to be done,” said the PM.
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